DRUG-related deaths in York and North Yorkshire have soared, latest figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals deaths related to drug poisoning, involving controlled or non-controlled drugs, have nearly tripled in the City of York Council area and almost doubled across the North Yorkshire County Council area between 2009 and 2019.

The figures come after the tragic death of York boy Josh Reeson, 15, in September. Police said he had taken drugs.

According to the ONS data, in 2009, there were eight deaths related to drug poisoning in the City of York Council area, rising steadily to 22 in 2019.

Meanwhile, in the North Yorkshire County Council area there were 26 deaths related to drug poisoning in 2009, compared to 51 in 2019.

Drug addiction treatment experts UKAT said the Yorkshire and Humber region has seen a 40 per cent rise in drug poisoning deaths in the last six years.

Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT, said: “These ONS figures are saddening but unsurprising. It is here in black and white, the situation is only getting worse for those most vulnerable in society.

"We urge councils across Yorkshire and The Humber to invest in effective drug and alcohol services in their 2021 budget to avoid even more loss of life.”

Sharon Stoltz, director of public health for City of York Council, said the authority takes the issue of substance misuse “very seriously” in York and is working with a range of partners across the city to provide support to those in need.

She said: “Our Public Health Team deliver the city’s drug and alcohol programme at a local level in partnership with Changing Lives and Spectrum Community Health to provide the York Drug and Alcohol Service.

"Oaktrees York is run in partnership with Changing Lives. This is an abstinence-based day treatment centre for men and women who want to be free from drugs and alcohol. Their aim is to help people to stop the cycle of addiction.

“Changing Lives also hold a regular drop-in service at The City Hub. This is a warm, friendly space for those around York who are affected by addiction or want support in their recovery. Whilst this service has continued throughout the pandemic, there maybe changes to how support is accessed during Covid-19 so please contact the team on for advice: 01904464680.”

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, director of public health at North Yorkshire County Council, said each drug death was a “tragedy”.

He said the authority commissioned North Yorkshire Horizons and Compass Reach to offer a range of services for adults and children to help to support those who may be facing difficulties with substance misuse.

“The overall aim is to aid anyone who might be facing difficulties in the county to recover and live freely without drug dependency.”